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Working at an Agency: What they tell you vs. what it’s really like.

19 Dec, 2018 Jolie Huisken Fluid Culture

I can remember sitting in my very first advertising class my freshman year of college. I had the coolest teacher- who knew everything about everything. Every word that came out of his mouth was real and exciting. He could have said just about anything and I probably would have believed it. Over the next couple of years, I had more and more teachers that helped me learn and grow and get excited about one day graduating and moving on to work in an advertising agency.

Now here I am, halfway done with my Senior year, interning at Fluid Advertising and learning that what they tell you in school isn’t always what the real world is like. Let’s just say, I have a whole new perspective on what it’s like to work in the advertising industry. So here is a short list of what I learned to be true (and not true) about working in an advertising agency.

“Agency life is just the whole agency sitting around throwing creative ideas around while eating pizza – everyday”

I remember a professor of mine telling us stories of our future, sitting around eating pizza and thinking of ideas- And though that may actually happen from time to time in an agency, there is a lot more that happens than just throwing around ideas. I have learned that there is so much that goes into every single thing that we deliver to a client. I feel like in college, they were obsessed with us coming up with new ideas. But there is so much strategy, planning and thought that goes into each campaign that go beyond just a good idea.

“Agency life is cutthroat and scary – If you are not the best of the best- forget it.”

On the opposite end I also had professors tell me how scary it is. Yes, agency life is fast paced and there is always a lot going on. But it’s cool to work with people who are just people, too. We all make mistakes and we all help each other out. Especially as an intern, I have been so grateful for the people who have taken the time to teach me and show me how to do things amidst their busy schedules. Other agencies may be cutthroat and mean, but I got lucky with a nice one.

“The process of a campaign is simple.”

One thing that surprised me the most when I started working at Fluid was how much back and forth there was between the client and the agency. In school, we are given an assignment or a campaign to create and we work on it until it’s due. In my mind, I imagined it being the same way in an agency – but it’s not. There’s a lot of communication between the agency and the client throughout the entire process, especially on website builds. I was impressed by the detailed steps we take to ensure the best site for the client, making sure they are satisfied every step of the way and getting exactly what they want. I thought that was pretty cool.

“Working at an agency means working on exciting clients who want big crazy ‘sky’s the limit’ campaigns with no budget and no boundaries.”

Our professors always talked about this and had us work on projects for huge brands like Nike or Coca Cola, with unlimited budgets and unlimited options of what we could do. We came up with huge, elaborate campaigns, and we could because it wasn’t a real client with a real budget.

Here at Fluid, we work with a wide range of different clients with a wide range of needs. It’s neat to be able to help our clients with their specific needs. Yeah, sometimes it’s not the most exciting or hilarious ad campaign, but it does its job effectively and helps solve our clients’ problems.

“Agencies are cool places to be – cool furniture – cool lounges – snacks and soda – ping pong and games.”

Yes, this part is true. Our office is very cool! It has a chill vibe and awesome interior decor. The kitchen is full of snacks and soda, we have fun company parties and we even have a pingpong table in the basement. This is a fun place to be.

“The coolest, most interesting people work in ad agencies”

I couldn’t agree more or be happier that this one is true. I have met some of the most interesting and nicest people here at Fluid. The wide spectrum of personalities and perspectives we have makes this such a great place to learn and be creative. I can only hope that my experience here at Fluid is a reflection of what my future holds.  


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